Medical scholars at May’s meeting of the Ladder got the chance to learn all about the brain, nerves and reflexes: how you use them for something as simple as clapping, testing how fast your nerves let your brain talk to your muscles, and how doctors can look inside your brain for problems without actually cracking your skull open.
We learned how a stroke should maybe be called a “brain attack” because it’s a lot like a heart attack but in the brain. Some of the advanced medical scholars used an app to show us how strokes in different parts of the brain impact different kinds of function.
For example, we learned that if you have a stroke that affects the very front-most part of your brain (the pre-frontal cortex), the green part on the screen above, you would likely experience some sort of changes to or problems with your emotions, decision making or personality. We learned about this guy Phineas Gage who back in 1848 had an iron rod blasted through this area of the brain and somehow survived but was a little weird after that.
We learned about the different signs that can tell you that someone is having a stroke. Here, Medical Scholar Ashawna demonstrates how a doctor would try to figure out if someone is showing signs of a stroke:
We learned the acronym F.A.S.T. as a simple way to remember what to do if we think someone might be having a stroke:
F = Face: look at their face – check to see if one side of their face is drooping or numb
A = Arms: check their arms – is one arm weak or numb? Have them hold out their arms, does one arm drop?
S = Speech: check their speech – are they slurring words, having a hard time talking, or hard to understand?
T = Time: time to call 911, and when you do, check the time on your watch or phone to let the medical folks know when the symptoms started
Another way of checking for signs of a stroke is to test pupil response to a bright light (the pupil is the black hole in the middle of the colored part of your eyes), as demonstrated by these Medical Scholars:
We also learned that certain medical scans can be really helpful in telling doctors if there are infections, tumors, strokes or other damage to parts of the brain. Here, Medical Scholar Renee uses Medical Scholar Tim as a model to show the different views that MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scans can give doctors of what’s going on inside our brains:
Medical scholars Steven and Christian want you to know that the Ladder is a Society of Medical Scholars ages 9 to 99, and that meetings are every second Saturday of the month (next one is June 8, and there’s always lunch served!) at the UROC building (2001 Plymouth Ave N) in North Minneapolis, and that you should totally come next time:
“Lift as you Climb, Build as you Grow”